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Collecting Maple Sap: Buckets or Tubing Systems

The traditional way of collecting maple sap to produce maple syrup is with buckets, while the more modern way is with tubing systems.

Buckets

The traditional way of collecting maple sap to produce maple syrup is with buckets. The use of buckets has both pros and cons.

The Pros:

  • Buckets are traditional and more attractive, therefore good for marketing if your sugarbush is near where you retail syrup.
  • Buckets are the suited to sugarbushes with very dispersed trees (cheaper to set up).
  • Buckets are subject to less squirrel damage

The Cons:

  • Bucket systems are usually more expensive to set up than tubing systems (except with very dispersed trees)
  • Buckets require long hours of emptying. Old buckets can leach lead, spoil sap more rapidly in warm weather and have flows that "aren't worth emptying" for several days.
  • Bucket systems require all-weather road systems in the sugarbush or a lot of walking with carrying buckets.

Tubing Systems

The more modern way of collecting maple sap to produce maple syrup is with tubing systems. The use of tubing has both pros and cons.

Tubing system for Maple Sap

The Pros:

  • When using tubing, do not have to empty buckets
  • When using tubing, can do more taps and get more sap per tap if you use vacuum
  • Often cheaper to set up initially than buckets

The Cons:

  • Tubing is often damaged by squirrels that chew on it
  • Tubing requires more maintenance than buckets
  • Tubing is not as pretty as a row of roadside trees on buckets. Frequently, producers say that it looks like trees are on IV's.

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Collecting Maple Sap: Buckets or Tubing Systems

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